You are in the diode archives v6n1




Slice of rhubarb the color of the inside of an eyelid—
it shimmered at the House of Pies as we sat in a maroon

booth in the back, as you moved a satellite picture of Hurricane
Ike across the Formica. The best time I spent

in Texas was when the evacuation lanes opened and we
drove from Houston to Austin and lived

in a motel for a week. We wrote a sign for the door
in English and Spanish, drew a cartoon of our black cat

so housekeeping wouldn’t let Jellybean bolt out
into traffic. You posed like a Buddha in front

of the motel’s blue-spiked agave shaped like a giant
lotus as I snapped your photograph. This was

the best week we had left together—though we
didn’t know it then, entering the shop of oddities

and taxidermy called Uncommon Objects. I wanted
to buy a glass eyeball with delicate red veins

and a violet iris from a brass bowl of vintage
ocular prosthetics by the register. You shamed me

into leaving it, saying, Save it for someone
who really needs it. We haven’t spoken in three

years since we split. But who would ever
buy a used glass eye, and in such a color? Until

that stranger shows up at my door, having hitched
his way from Austin to the West Coast,

only then will I believe you saw something
I didn’t notice: ghost with one violet eye

who wavered in the storefront’s window. Did you see
the end of us playing in the shadows of his empty socket

as it deepened and led back to Houston? You
finding out about the affair, me taking

the cat. Did you believe leaving that
glass offering that stared from the bowl could stop it?


Blue Honey

When I read that French bees
had sipped the sugared waste

that dripped from an M&M’s factory,
carrying the candy-liquid back

to their hives, and stoppered
the round cells with blue honey,

I knew you must still be
thinking of me. Why else

would the honeycombs clot
their golds and blues in layers to shape

those shades of the stained glass sky
in that Baptist church’s window

that overlooked our former street
in Texas? The bells

wouldn’t let us sleep in
on Sundays, which was
my punishment from the swamp
each time I cursed

its heat. Like me
the bees don’t speak

French, though they’d recognize
the uvular r’s of my old

Cajun neighbors in the whirr
of their wings. Like me
they keep going back
to a crack in the stained glass,

to the factory. They keep
moving toward sweetness, they

keep carrying the weight of
the deepest blue.


Blue Honey (2)

Since the beekeepers in France refuse
to sell it, I only want it

more: that store of blue honey
produced by bees who’d fed

on the colored pools
of sweet waste leaked

from an M&M’s factory. An accident
thick and waiting in rows

of stacked mason jars
whose contents no one

will taste. If I had
a say in the matter, I’d auction

those freaks of nature as a way
to remind ourselves the winters

grow colder each year,
the bees disappearing, driven

to seek sugar in the strangest
of places. In Houston

I once tried to leave a man. I tried
to leave town only having

exacted the smallest damage, but it was
like trying to swim

in a dark swamp
thick as a blue

mutant honey. Once I tried
not to hurt anyone. I tried. And if I

could buy a single jar
of the bizarre stash

before the beekeepers flush it
into the sea, maybe

he’d believe me. Or maybe I could
hold a spoonful of gold

honey on my tongue,
close my eyes, and deepen
the substance. Maybe this way
I could summon the darkest blue.  


Anna Journey is the author of the poetry collections Vulgar Remedies (Louisiana State University Press, 2013) and If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting (University of Georgia Press, 2009), which was selected by Thomas Lux for the National Poetry Series. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry, FIELD, The Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. She received a fellowship in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Southern California.